|02.28.10 at 7:14 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — LSU defensive back Chad Jones can do a lot. As he pointed out Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, he’s pretty versatile. He can plays at either safety position or cornerback — not to mention southpaw reliever.
Jones was a two-sport athlete at LSU, knocking heads with receivers on the football field and bringing the heat (and a 2009 College World Series Championship) as a lefty reliever on the baseball diamond. From here on out, however, it’s all football.
“As of right now, I’ve wrapped my baseball career up,” Jones said on Sunday. “I had a good run at it. I loved it. I wouldn’t have done anything differently, but it’s time for me to pursue my [passion].”
Two-sport athletes often face difficulty making a decision at the end of their college careers. Notre Dame receiver Jeff Samardzija likely would have been a first-round pick in the NFL had he elected not to sign with the Cubs, who made him a fifth-round pick in the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft.
Jones’ decision is similar. He was regarded as one of the top high school baseball prospects in the 2007 MLB Draft but didn’t go until the 13th round (Astros) because he had already committed to play football at LSU. The Astros failed to sign him and the rest is history.
“Baseball’s a different kind of feeling,” Jones said. “[In] baseball, everybody’s eyes are on you and every pitch counts. In football, everybody’s eyes are scanning around. There are so many people on the field. It’s a different kind of pressure.”
|02.28.10 at 3:20 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Oakland coach Tom Cable just spoke with the media here at the NFL Scouting Combine, and had a lot of good stuff to say about former Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour.
Cable indicated that Seymour, who was dealt by New England to Oakland for a first-round pick in 2011 before the start of this past season, has taken a real leadership role with the Raiders.
“I think he was everything I thought he would be,” Cable said of the 30-year-old Seymour, who just completed his first full year with Oakland. “I heard a lot about who he is as a person, and what he would bring to the locker room and the practice field and the preparation and all those things. To me, he accomplished everything I had heard about him.
“The thing that I was probably most excited about was how much he impacted our young players on our football team,” Cable added. “He’s been in the NFL for quite some time, and knows how to prepare, how to get himself ready, how to take notes. The time it takes, day-to-day, week-to-week as you go through the season, and ultimately, how to take care of your body. So I think there were a lot of good lessons learned there for a bunch of young football players.”
|02.28.10 at 3:01 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Whatever it takes.
It’s the philosophy that Boston College linebacker Mike McLaughlin is taking at this week’s NFL Scouting Combine. The Woburn native made his bones as a linebacker with the Eagles, but believes his best chance to reach the next level might be on special teams — specifically as a long snapper.
“I long-snapped. I actually did it at the East-West Shrine Game, as a short and long snapper,” said McLaughlin, who was twice named a defensive captain while at Boston College. “I just think to me right now, I consider myself a special teams guy first and then a linebacker. Of course, I play linebacker — I’ve got the LB on my shirt. But I think I can come in and make an impact on any special teams.”
The 6-foot-2, 247-pound McLaughlin wants to make sure he gets a few snaps in on Monday before leaving the combine, and will make sure he does the same at BC’s Pro Day on March 11. Some draft analysts believe McLaughlin is making the right choice.
|02.28.10 at 1:49 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — At this moment, it appears that New England will be the only team to enter the 2010 season without an offensive or defensive coordinator. But the folks who have had the chance to peek behind the curtain in Foxboro that it will make a lick of difference.
Current Broncos coach Josh McDaniels was part of a coaching staff that didn’t have an offensive coordinator in 2005 — McDaniels was calling plays as quarterbacks coach. He says that when it comes to New England’s coaching hierarchy, titles can be a bit overrated.
“In my history, I’ve been given responsibility to which I feel like I’ve earned. When I wasn’t given something, I just felt like maybe I didn’t deserve it yet and I’d just keep working,” he said Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “The title in 2005 was insignificant to me. I was excited to call plays and excited to be a part of the design of the offense and the game-planning and all that stuff.”
“I’ll never second-guess Coach Belichick’s approach to that,” said former New England director of college scouting Thomas Dimitroff, currently the GM of the Falcons. “I understand that seems out of the norm, but he’s got a plan. He’s very calculating with his decisions.”
|02.28.10 at 1:44 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — When Joe Haden arrived at the University of Florida in the spring of 2007, he didn’t know what position he would play.
“When I first got to Florida I had a little dream that I was going to play quarterback [but] they had somebody named Tebow,” Haden said Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “So that kind of went out the window.”
Having been recruited as a quarterback by schools including Ohio State, Virginia, Georgia, Boston College (where his brother Josh played running back), LSU, and Rutgers, Haden was fine changing positions if it meant being a Gator. The first attempt was a move to wide receiver.
“I was second-string behind Percy [Harvin],” he said. “I couldn’t get it right.”
The depth on offense was killing Haden’s chances of making an impact as a freshman, which led to a discussion with coach Urban Meyer about trying something new. Haden was all for whatever would get him on the field.
“Coach Meyer asked me if I felt like going to the defensive side of the ball,” Haden said. “I just wanted to play, because I came in spring so I had a lot of time to adjust. He just moved me to corner, something I had never done before.”
|02.28.10 at 12:50 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Take one look at Eric Berry and you know that you’re looking at perhaps the best athlete in the 2010 NFL Draft. The Tennessee defensive back can play either safety position exceptionally well, and has experience at cornerback and linebacker.
But while there won’t be many names announced before they get to Berry on April 22, it hasn’t always been easy for him. It’s family first for the 5-foot-11 1/2, 211-pound Berry, so when he made the decision to declare for the draft as a junior who was just seven yards short of the all-time record for interception return yards, he did so without looking back.
“Ever since I could remember, my mom and dad were always working,” Berry said. “My dad worked two jobs and recently had heart surgery, so I really just wanted him to be able to sit down and enjoy life for a little bit. I felt like I could do that by just coming to the draft and making their situation better.”
The decision was admirable and nobody took it the wrong way at Tennessee. In fact, then-defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin told him that he would be “a fool” to return.
James Berry worked both in insulation and as an interior/exterior painter. He deemed the residential insulation gig with Owen Corning too dangerous for his son to be around, but when young Eric wanted his first job, his father gave him a paint brush, and though James told him that he was a hard worker, it was the load off his own shoulders that was the added bonus.
“He said I was cheap labor,” Berry said with a laugh on Sunday. “I think [he paid me] somewhere around $5.50 an hour, which was pretty good in middle school, but I worked for that $5.50, man.”
Good news, Eric: teams picking in the top five pay a little better.
|02.28.10 at 11:26 am ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — With cornerback a need, the Patriots will have plenty of options with their first four picks in the NFL Draft. With returner also a need, the list gets narrowed down a bit.
Oklahoma State’s Perrish Cox is a guy that WEEI.com had its eye on in January for the Patriots, citing his size (6 feet, 195 pounds) and ability to be a difference-maker the New England return game has lacked since the draft day trade of Ellis Hobbs to the Eagles. Cox’ focus at the combine, however, has less to do with his game and more to do with his off-field issues.
Cox was arrested for driving with a suspended license in August and missed the Cotton Bowl last season for breaking curfew twice.
“That’s one of the things [NFL teams] harass me with,” Cox said Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. “It’s kind of tough, but I’m used to it. I knew that was going to happen.”
He had 130 tackles and 10 interceptions in four years at Oklahoma State and scored on one of his 19 punt returns as a senior. But if Cox wants to hear his name called, it’s how he responds to what he calls the “harassment” from teams (including the Ravens, Niners, Packers, Rams, and Saints — he has yet to meet with the Patriots) that matters.
“I just tell them it’s my fault. Coach [Mike Gundy] did what he had to do and I got suspended for the game.”
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